Decorating with White

Today we’re talking about decorating with white. Nothing says bright, fresh, and clean like white. It’s a versatile neutral that works well with any decor style.

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I partnered with Amy Howard Home to share their Color of the Month.

The Color of the Month Club is a monthly subscription where Color of the Month subscribers will receive a new color every month exclusive to the club. This month’s Color of the Month is Pardon my French, and it is a milky hue – which is why we are talking about decorating with white!

I used this month’s color on our kitchen table, and it brightened the entire space.

Why You Should use White in your Decor

Having a white base and decorating with white always looks polished, and it works with almost any other color imaginable.

White is a color of protection and encouragement, offering a sense of peace and calm, comfort and hope, helping alleviate emotional upsets. It creates a sense of order and efficiency.

The color white is cleanliness personified, the ultimate in purity. White is traditionally worn by western brides while doctors wear white coats.

White is bright and can create a sense of space, and designers often use the color white to make rooms seem larger and more spacious.

Besides making a space look larger, white is a base that allows you to seamlessly cover up slight cracks or worn areas either in your home or on furniture. White disguises the areas you don’t want on display.

Using white in decor is a balancing act. Too much white can cause feelings of isolation and emptiness. White can be too pristine and immaculate and make you feel as though you can’t make a move for fear of creating a mess. It can also come across as empty and unfriendly.

Is White a Color?

This is a loaded question, and answers may vary depending on who you ask.

In art, white is the absence of all color and black is the presence of all color. To artists, black is considered a color, white is generally not.

In light, the opposite holds true. Black is the absence of color, and white is the presence of all color. To scientists, white is a bunch of colors, and black is not.

Let’s discuss this further – light appears colorless or white. Sunlight is white light that is composed of all the colors of the spectrum.  A rainbow is proof. You can’t see the colors of sunlight except when atmospheric conditions bend the light rays and create a rainbow.

However, if we’re going to be technical, white (and black) are not colors – they’re shades. They do function like colors in that they evoke feelings. And in the decor world, white is an important color – even if it’s not represented on the color wheel. White is an essential ingredient of any decor palette.

The Color Theory Behind White

So today, we are going to consider white a color. White is the lightest color and can have either warm undertones or cool undertones.

Warm Undertones Warm whites have an undertone color of yellow, orange, and red.

Cool Undertones cool whites have an undertone of blue, green, and purple.

Warm whites will be easier to blend with cream and beige, and white cool whites will mix best with shades of gray. Whichever undertone you choose, be sure to stick with it throughout your space.

If you’re unsure about the undertone of something, simply hold it up to a swatch of pure white.

History Behind White

In ancient Egypt and ancient Rome, priestesses wore white as a symbol of purity, and Romans wore a white toga as a symbol of citizenship.

The Pope, the head of the Roman Catholic Church, has worn white since 1566, as a symbol of purity and sacrifice.

Greek and Roman temples were faced with white marble, and beginning in the 18th century, with the advent of neoclassical architecture, white became the most common color of new churches, capitols, and other government buildings, especially in the United States.

However, the history of white pigment is a dark and morbid one. Lead white was one of the earliest and most reliable whites discovered and was in use since 400 B.C. Lead white’s victims included not only the manufacturer workers and artists who used it, but also those who applied it as face makeup. Its toxicity sickened and killed a lot of people.

At the end of the 19th century, lead white was still the most popular pigment; but between 1916 and 1918, chemical companies in Norway and the United States began to produce titanium white, made from titanium oxide. It had twice the covering power of lead white and was the brightest white pigment known. By 1945, 80 percent of the white pigments sold were titanium white.

White & Black

Pairing black and white together is a classic move that creates a sophisticated atmosphere. It is clean, sleek, and a little dramatic.

Pair Pardon My French with this classic black.

White & Yellow

Pairing yellow with white will brighten your mood and bring the sunshine in.

Pardon My French and Mollie Yellow make the sweetest combo.

White & Green

White obviously works well with any color, but it definitely helps set the stage for green so it can shine.

Mix Cranley Garden with Pardon My French for an elegant combo.

Blue & White

Blue and white create a beautiful coastal look that works well with any decor style.

Use Pardon My French with American Dream for a classic look.

If you want to see more info on the color of the month club or purchase any of the specific paint colors I mentioned, go to Amy Howard Home.

Go create something!

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